The greatest source of wisdom in existence lies neglected by younger generations, which, having never been immersed in the incomparable journey of reading a good book, understand the habit of reading merely as entertainment, and equate it with lazier, emptier forms of leisure, such as watching television or playing videogames. Reading is not entertainment. Some books are entertaining, of course. But to pick up a good book and engage in the intellectually challenging exercise of deciphering the words and sentences that make up a page, and the pages that make up a chapter, is valuable in many more ways than simply being a fun way to pass the time. Reading trains your mind in a similar way as the gym trains your body. It has been said that IQ is fixed, and yet I'm certain that reading makes you smarter, in every possible way. I know that for some people, reading is boring and pointless. I'll share some tips that have helped me read a vast amount of books without too much effort, and enjoying every second of it, understanding them fully and becoming a wiser person after every final page.
Why you should read more
This is a no-brainer, and I practically explained it completely in the introduction to this article. If for no other reason, you should read more because books make you smarter. The mere act of reading teaches you how to think in a more abstract manner, and each book will teach you something else. Some will teach you practical skills, some will help you understand a concept that is applicable in the real world, some will simply be so beautifully written that you'll connect with emotions deeper than you've ever experienced. Every book opens your eyes a little bit more. Every book changes you a little bit, and if you choose the right books, this change will be for the better. But as I said, the greatest value of reading lies simply in excercising your thinking muscles. Your intellectual muscles. Reading forces you to actively engage in the challenging task of interpreting and giving meaning to words in a piece of paper. That is no small thing.
Think about it this way as well: a book somewhere has the solution to that problem that you are facing right now. Millions of people have lived and died before you, and millions of brilliant minds have inmortalized their teachings and struggles through writing. Books give you answers to questions that you didn't even know you had. Read more, learn more, become smarter, wiser and open your eyes to the infinite supply of wisdom that lies in those pages that you find so boring.
Open your eyes to the infinite supply of wisdom that lies in those pages that you find so boring.
How to read more
As for practical advice regarding the habit of reading, there isn't much science to it. As most worthwhile things, it will demand discipline from you, and consistency. To pick up a good habit such as this one requires effort, especially if you aren't naturally inclined towards reading. However, there are some things that you can do to easily include this habit in your daily routine. And also, try to enjoy it. Open your mind to the possibility of enjoying a task that you find boring because you've never committed to it. You should cherish every second that you spend reading, and you will. You just need to start doing it.
1) Choose books that you'll enjoy
Buy a couple of books about things that you like and find interesting. If you don't know what you find interesting, start with some classics. There are endless novels that have withstood the test of time for a reason. Pick up some of them first, as you can't go wrong with them.
2) Read at a specific hour of the day
This helps with building consistency and making this habit a part of your daily routine. Personally, I like to read first thing in the morning, while enjoying my first cup of coffee. This has become one the most enjoyable parts of my day, and it's something that I look forward to every single night. If you prefer reading before bed, that works perfectly as well. I like to do it in the morning because it wakes up my mind and inspires me for the rest of the day.
3) Make it an enjoyable event
As I do by reading with my cup of coffee in hand, make sure that you don't simply pick up a book by the heck of it, but try instead to consciously create an event that you can look forward to. Sit in a nice chair, or in your garden. Prepare yourself a drink, sit comfortably, leave your cellphone far away and really engage in the activity of enjoying your book. This makes reading ten times better than simply lying down and reading without caring too much.
4) Read 2 books simultaneously
This helps you to read more, as you can switch from one book to another if you get bored. Also, I recommend reading a fictional book and a non-fictional book simultaneously, as to not get confused between stories, for example. This also gives you some day to day variety to work with, if for example you are not in the mood to read something intellectually difficult, you can read an easier novel or fictional work.
Also, write down some reading-related goals. How much you want to read, what type of books, what you want to learn from it, etc. Just make a conscious effort to implement this habit, as if it were a non-negotiable part of your day, such as eating, working, sleeping and going to the gym. Because it is non-negotiable. Reading is an absolute must, so stop being lazy and start being smarter.